Home Church community Gingerbread Church Brings Smiles and Joy to Maple Ridge Retirement Community – Maple Ridge News

Gingerbread Church Brings Smiles and Joy to Maple Ridge Retirement Community – Maple Ridge News


A welcome mat sits in front of a small brown door with a red button, decorated with a green wreath. White icicles hang from the roof. Two snowmen in hats and scarves smile from the front lawn, and a path winds from the front landing to a bridge over a teal pond.

It is the gingerbread creation of Sheila Diebel and Claudette Schulte that sits in the front foyer of the Sunwood Retirement Residence for the enjoyment of all who live there.

This is the second year in a row that the two longtime friends have combined their pastry skills to create an edible masterpiece.

Last year, they built a two-foot-tall church – everything is edible from the fireplace to the trees, to the stained glass windows, to the choir boys singing outside the front door.

Diebel, who works at the retirement home for maintenance, and Schulte, have been friends for over 20 years.

In 2012, they entered Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency Gingerbread Lane competition and set up a station to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But it took them until last year to work together on another project.

This year the church took the pair 65 hours to create. Mini-wheat was used to make the roof shingles, peanuts and sunflower seeds were used to make the chimney stones.

And the entire interior of the church is decorated with furniture and even a Christmas tree, said Samantha Nelson of the Revera Sunwood Retirement Community.

They even add extra spices when baking the gingerbread.

“To make it really feel like Christmas,” Nelson said.

And, again, 100 percent of the church is edible.

Nelson added that the couple love making edible churches because of how much joy it brings to residents and staff at the nursing home when they see and smell the gingerbread.

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